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THE SEMINAR ON JESUIT SPIRITUALITY
The Seminar is composed of a number of Jesuits appointed from their provinces in the
It concerns itself with topics pertaining to the spiritual doctrine and practice of
Jesuits, especially United States Jesuits, and communicates the results to the members of
the provinces through its publication, STUDIES IN THE SPIRITUALITY OF JESUITS. This is
done in the spirit of Vatican It's recommendation that religious institutes recapture the
original inspiration of their founders and adapt it to the circumstances of modern times.
The Seminar welcomes reactions or comments in regard to the material that it publishes.
The Seminar focuses its direct attention on the life and work of the Jesuits of
the United States. The issues treated may be common also to Jesuits of other regions, to
other priests, religious, and laity, to both men and women. Hence, the journal, while
meant especially for American Jesuits, is not exclusively for them. Others who may find
it helpful are cordially welcome to make use of it.
CURRENT MEMBERS OF THE SEMINAR
James W. Bernauer, S.J., teaches philosophy at Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Mass.
Richard A. Blake, S.J., is chairman of the Seminar and editor of STUDIES; he teaches film
studies at Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Mass. (2002).
James T. Bretzke, S.J., teaches theology at the University of San Francisco, San Fran-
cisco, Cal. (2006)
Patrick J. Howell, S.J., is vice-president for Mission and Ministry at Seattle University,
Seattle, Wash. (2006)
T. Frank Kennedy, S.J., teaches music and is director of the Jesuit Institute at Boston
College, Chestnut Hill, Mass. (2004).
Mark S. Massa, S.J., teaches theology and is director of the American Catholic Studies
Program at Fordham University, Bronx, N. Y. (2006)
Thomas Massaro, S.J., teaches moral theology at Weston Jesuit School of Theology,
Cambridge, Mass. (2006)
Gerald L. McKevitt, S.J., teaches history at Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, Cal.
William E. Reiser, S.J., teaches theology at the College of the Holy Cross, Worcester,
Philip J. Rosato, S.J., is senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center, Washington,
Thomas L Schubeck, S.J., teaches social ethics at John Carroll University, University
Heights, Ohio (2004).
The opinions expressed in STUDIES are those of the individual authors thereof.
Parentheses designate year of entry as a Seminar member.
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Loved into Freedom and Service
Lay Experiences of the Exercises in Daily Life
Patrick M. Kelly, SJ.
STUDIES in THE SPIRITUALITY OF JESUITS
39/2 • SUMMER 2007
The first word . . .
What is truly awful preaching really like? Several old movie images
spring to mind. Try this one: Indians on the warpath, bedecked in feathers
and paint, galloping frantically around the circled wagon train, whooping
in a kind of manic frenzy and occasionally firing a harmless arrow at their
prey. The settlers, meanwhile, hunker down among their Conestogas and
pray for the inevitable bugle from the cavalry that signals their rescue. Or
just as often they simply wait for the Indians to grow tired and just go
away. Like all good metaphors this one holds a bit of ambiguity. Are the
errant arrows directed at the topic of the homily or the congregation? It
makes no difference. In either case, they miss.
Other preachers seem much more methodical in their tactics. One
might think of one of those rickety tanks from World War I, rumbling in
brute determination across no man's land, struggling for a moment to cross
a ruined trench of an idea, then grinding on over tangled swirls of barbed
wire and convoluted enthymemes. Machine-gun bullets and grenades
bounce off its armor like pesky flies on an elephant's haunch. Having
limited visibility, or none at all, it sets its destination and grunts forward,
impervious to the shifting battlefield. Its pace however leaves snail and
tortoise alike impatient for progress. What, in the end, is the point of all
this churning of gears and screeching of steel? Will it even arrive at its
designated destination, whatever that might be?
Perhaps other movie cliches come to mind: the lost legionnaire dying of
thirst in the Sahara, with the mirage of an idea just over the horizon;
Godzilla venting his reptilian rage by crushing cardboard skylines and
every other sign of modernity with his plaster fangs and papier-mache
claws; Dr. Frankenstein, quite proud of his achievement, shouting, "It's
alive," with little awareness that he has created a monster; Shirley Temple
grinning cheerily as she tap-dances endlessly on the same square foot of
stage with little desire to move on. Perhaps other images will come into
Over the years, or centuries, the people out there in the pews have
learned to cope with awful preaching. They come equipped with an on/ofF
switch. There is empirical evidence to prove the point. Some years ago, a
visiting missionary came to the small-town parish that I visited each Sun-
day. He was an engaging speaker and did what struck me as a fine job on
the standard-issue appeal sermon. He greeted the congregation in the
language of the area he served, told the obligatory story of the little girl at
the mission station who could not be there to tell her own story, but
wanted to go to school. He explained that back in his parish there were
hundreds of other orphans just like her who depended on the generosity of
American parishes, just like this one. He was relatively brief, engaging, and
enthusiastic. After Mass, he stood on one side of the front door, snaking
hands with the parishioners as they left. I stood on the other. Although I
did not keep count, my guess is that nearly a third of the people on my
side of the doorway thanked me for the fine sermon I had just preached.
Clearly, while this visiting priest spoke of the needs of the Church in some
distant land and I sat quietly by the sacristy door, their thoughts were
focused on the coming Sunday dinner with the in-laws and an afternoon
with the NFL. Years of flipping the off switch left them like the parade of
zombies from Night of the Living Dead.
These good people had become like regular movie goers, who have seen
so much mayhem and murder on the screen that they have lost their
ability to react at all. And then comes the next logical question: If many
parishioners have grown desensitized to bad preaching, have they also lost
the ability to respond to good preaching? Everyone tries to be polite, so as
a result it's difficult for us, laity and clergy alike, to recognize the differ-
ence. We lack a realistic feedback loop to encourage good preachers to
hone their skills and the poor ones to seek help to improve.
This dichotomy is overly simplistic, of course. Most of us have our
good days and bad days. Sometimes the Scripture speaks to us, and some-
times not. We can be busy with other things, pressured, distracted, or not
feeling particularly well. Sometimes ideas leap off the page, speak to our
passionate concerns, and create their own electricity. Wonderful homilists
can, on occasion, come up with dreary, incoherent sermons. Dull, incoher-
ent preachers can, on occasion, sparkle, but don't count on it. One really
has to look at the averages over the year before issuing a final grade.
Performance reports and grading have become a way of life in the
corporate world. Colleges, especially, tend to take grades seriously, even for
faculty. Tenure, promotion, and salary increments depend on one's effec-
tiveness as a teacher. At the end of each semester, we distribute "course-
evaluation forms." These allow students to switch roles and grade their
professors. This is truly an amazing ritual. Almost every class will have a
few comments along the lines of "This is the finest experience I have had
in my entire college career." Predictably, these will be canceled out by a
several remarks along the lines of "Don't ever let this guy step in front of a
class again." Some will complain that I speak too loudly and give them a
headache, while others say they can't hear because I drop my voice and
whisper. The majority of comment sheets fall somewhere in the middle,
which is probably a lot closer to the truth, since few of us have the power
to be as inspiring or destructive as some of our students proclaim.
That critical center does shift between a positive and a negative read-
ing, according to the group, since classes, just like individuals, have their
own personalities. Many of us have had the experience of teaching
back-to-back sections of the same class. One is a delight and the other
sheer drudgery, and the year-end evaluations tend to reflect this mysteri-
ous clash or mesh of personalities. Both classes have the same material,
same teacher, same tests and papers, but far different results. Finally, some
vociferous critics base their comments on issues beyond reasonable human
control: "This class is a joke. It meets at nine o'clock and nobody is awake
then." I can always count on a couple of comments from people who sign
up for a class in early film history, "From the beginnings to the advent of
sound," as the catalogue describes it, and then complain bitterly that "he
makes us watch old movies."
In many schools, students have supplemented the official evaluation
process with an open-forum blogsite. It's a great idea, but unfortunately
many of the bloggers use the system to ventilate their rage at a disappoint-
ing grade, which they are convinced is the only thing standing between
them and the medical school of their choice. Noting the spelling and
grammar in some of these electronic tantrums, I recall the response of one
veteran colleague in a pre-med program, who after listening to an adoles-
cent tirade about his unfair grading, responded, "The only way you'll get
into a medical school is on a gumey with a label on your big toe." The
angriest blogs can be shrugged off as meaningless by tenured old-timers
whose skin has thickened over the years. But they have to be painful for
vilified younger faculty, especially when they have to propose to a skeptical
rank-and-tenure committee that a few scurrilous comments on the Web
may explain why they are not attracting their share of students into the
Constructive feedback in both preaching and teaching remains an
elusive goal, and it's made even more difficult since both professions can be
compared to those "time-release" medicines relentlessly advertised on
television. Often the effect takes place long after ingestion. On occasion,
years after the fact, grateful students or parishioners will thank us for
something we said or did, for an idea or a course, that made a real differ-
ence in their lives. More likely than not, we cannot remember them or the
circumstance they cite, but somehow, in some mysterious way, the Lord
worked through our ministry to touch them. These are the kinds of mo-
ments that the most ingenious feedback questionnaires and course-evalua-
tion forms could never account for in a million years. When it happens, it
is a beautiful and humbling experience.
Spiritual direction is the delayed-action ministry par excellence, and
more than in most other ministries appearances and immediate reactions
can be deceiving. During a retreat, a person can have a cordial relationship
with the director, have a positive experience with prayer, and eagerly look
forward to returning for more of the same next year. The feedback is
positive, without qualification. Or another person might dislike the direc-
tor, hold back information, struggle with prolonged desolation, and yearn
to get out of the place as soon as possible, vowing never to return. Which
one has made the better retreat? Who can say? Should the first director
feel satisfied that he has "the knack," or the second feel discouraged that
she didn't handle the relationship more creatively? The immediate feed-
back can be misleading in either case. What counts for everything is the
way the experience of the retreat affects the rest of their lives.
In this issue of STUDIES Pat Kelly shares his own expertise in trying to
construct a process for gathering feedback from twenty men and women
who had made the Nineteenth Annotation Retreat. Several points of his
study are instructive. The interviews take place some time after the actual
retreat experience. The retreatants have had the opportunity to see how
the graces of the retreat have worked out in their workaday lives. By this
time they had moved beyond a good relationship with the director or the
sense of consolation in prayer. Since Pat did not serve as their director, he
could stand outside their experience as an objective observer, and they had
no reason to try to make him feel good about what they accomplished
under his direction. In this essay, he's summarized only a few of the inter-
views. It's just enough to give a sense of what happens to people in pews
or parlors or classrooms after they have allowed God to speak to them
through a limited but gifted minister.
Richard A. Blake, S.J.
I. The Experiences of Retreatants 5
II. Loved into Freedom 10
III. The Two Standards 15
IV. Making Choices 21
V. Examen of Consciousness 26
Patrick M. Kelly, S.J., of the Detroit Province, taught
courses in Ignatian spirituality and was one of the
founders of the Choices Retreat Program while a
regent at the University of Detroit Mercy. He received
his doctorate from the School of Religion at Claremont
University in the areas of theology, ethics, and culture.
He is currently the LeRoux Professor at Seattle Uni-
versity, holding a joint appointment with the Depart-
ment of Theology and Religious Studies and the Cen-
ter for the Study of Sport and Exercise.
Loved into Freedom and Service
Lay Experiences of the Exercises in Daily Life
For the past several years, the Nineteenth Annotation Re-
treat has become an important element in supporting luna-
tion spirituality among lay people. By selecting four inter-
viewees from twenty diverse men and women who had made
the Exercises while continuing with their other responsibili-
ties, the author provides an insight into the long-term effect
of this experience on their lives precisely as lay people.
A reading of the signs of the times since the Second Vatican Council
shows unmistakably that the Church of the next millennium will be
called the "Church of the Laity/'
GC 34, "Cooperation with the Laity in Mission"
d. 13, para. 331 (p. 159)
We are in the next millennium. These are both perilous and
exciting times in the Church and the world. In the
Church, new opportunities were unleashed when the
breath of the Spirit blew over those gathered at the Second Vatican
Council and helped them to recognize and name the gifts of lay
persons in a new way. By making the People of God one of its
primary images, the council highlighted that the Church is made up
of all the baptized and that each and every person is called to
holiness. Each person is also called to participate in the mission of
In fact, the Christian vocation is, of its nature, a vocation to the
apostolate as well. In the organism of a living body no member is
2 ^ Patrick M. Kelly, S.J.
purely passive: sharing in the life of the body each member shares
also in its activity. 1
In this new context, lay people are looking for theological and
spiritual resources that can help them make progress in the Christian
life and live out their vocations in the world. One resource many are
turning to is the Nineteenth Annotation version of the Spiritual
Exercises. Judging from the criteria of the council for the kinds of
theological and spiritual "aids" lay people should be using, this
retreat is uniquely suited to the needs of lay people at this time. For
one thing, the Council Fathers emphasized the importance of union
with Christ as a basis for the lay apostolate. As they put it, "The
fruitfulness of the apostolate of lay people depends on their living
union with Christ, as the Lord said himself: 'Those who abide in me
and I in them bear much fruit, for separated from me you can do
nothing' (John 15:5)" (407, no. 4). At the very heart of the experience
of the Spiritual Exercises is the fostering of an intimate relationship
such as this with Christ.
Another reason the Nineteenth Annotation version of the
retreat is an apt "aid," according to the criteria of the council Fathers,
is that lay people can make the retreat while continuing to carry out
their responsibilities in the world. Such accommodation comes
Lay people should so use these aids that, while doing what is ex-
pected of them in the world in the ordinary conditions of life, they
do not separate their union with Christ from their ordinary life, but
actually grow closer to him by doing their work according to God's
will. (407, no. 4)
Over the last few years, I spoke at length with twenty lay
people who made the Nineteenth Annotation Retreat in an attempt
to understand just how they found this retreat helpful in our time. 2
1 Vatican Council II: The Basic Sixteen Documents, "Decree on the Apostolate of
Lay People/' ed. Austin Flannery, O.P. (Northport, N.Y.: Costello Publishing Co.,
1996), p. 405, para. 2.
I interviewed twelve women and eight men. I did not direct any of these
retreatants during the retreat. I spoke with each of them after they had made the
retreat (with varying lengths of time having transpired between the time they made
the retreat and the time we spoke) in a conversation that was tape-recorded and
then later transcribed. I have edited some of their comments, without changing the
substance of what they were saying, to make them more readable in a written
Loved into Freedom and Service ^ 3
On the basis of these interviews, I am convinced that the Nineteenth
Annotation Retreat is a particularly fruitful aid for helping lay people
live out their vocations to the apostolate. The retreatants' prayer life
deepens and they grow in their love of Jesus Christ and in their
commitment to his way of thinking, acting, and living. They also
grow in their understanding of how God is calling them specifically
and uniquely in the contexts in which they live and work. Finally,
the retreat helps them grow in the interior freedom they need to
respond to this call with generosity. For these reasons, the Nine-
teenth Annotation Retreat can be immensely important in our time,
and can help us to put flesh and blood on the high ideals and
exalted vision associated with the Second Vatican Council.
Although many lay people are being drawn to this retreat in
the years since the council, some Jesuits may find themselves unfa-
miliar with this particular adaptation of the Exercises. This lack of
familiarity is not surprising, since the Nineteenth Annotation Retreat
dropped off the radar of Jesuit ministries after the first century of
Jesuit history. 3 The analysis of the reasons for this would take an-
other entire issue of STUDIES. Ignatius, however, clearly intended this
as a legitimate way to make the Exercises. His intentions in this
regard are evident in the annotation itself, which enables someone
"who is involved in public affairs or pressing occupations but is
educated or intelligent" to make the Exercises either in abbreviated
or full form, by devoting an hour and a half each day to prayer
while continuing to attend to one's responsibilities in daily life. 4
Ignatius gave this version of the retreat himself and continued to do
so until the end of his life. According to Ignacio Iparraguirre, S.J.,
As Gilles Cusson, S.J., has observed in a historical study of the Nineteenth
Annotation Retreat, "It is a fact that after the first century of Jesuit history there is
hardly any mention of this method of giving the Exercises in everyday life" (The
Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life [St. Louis, Mo.: The Institute of Jesuit Sources, 12).
This particular version of the retreat explicitly included the possibility of the
retreatant making his or her way through the full four Weeks of the Exercises. After
referring in this annotation to the Principle and Foundation and various exercises of
the First Week, Ignatius writes, "For the mysteries of Christ our Lord this exercitant
should follow the same procedure as is explained below and at length throughout
the Exercises themselves" (Ignatius of Loyola: Spiritual Exercises and Selected Works, ed.
George Ganss, S.J. [Mahwah, N.Y.: Paulist Press, 1991], p. 127).
4 <& Patrick M. Kelly, S.J.
After having given the Exercises in various ways at Manresa, Alcala,
Barcelona, Paris, and Rome, towards the end of his life he confined
himself more and more to giving the complete Exercises of one
month, in retirement from everyday life, with all the annotations and
rules, adapting them to the condition of certain people who could
not entirely leave aside their business nor withdraw to some solitary
place, in conformity with the procedure suggested in annotation 19. 5
The various directories for the Exercises written in the sixteenth
century also mention this retreat format as a matter of course as one
adaptation among many. 6 Our current context, and especially the
renewal of the lay vocation, make it opportune now for this way of
making the Exercises to be revived. 7
Ignacio Iparraguirre, Practica de los Ejercicios de San Ignacio de Loyola en uida de
su autor (1522-1566) (Rome: Historical Institute of the Society of Jesus, 1946), 2.
See the various directories for the Spiritual Exercises from this time period in
On Giving the Spiritual Exercises, the Early Jesuit Manuscript Directories and the "Official
Directory of 1599," ed. Martin E. Palmer (St. Louis, Mo.: The Institute of Jesuit Sources,
There were some scattered attempts in the U.S. Assistancy before the Second
Vatican Council to adapt the Exercises to the situations of lay people, but the use of
the Nineteenth Annotation Retreat really began in earnest only after the council. In
the mid 1980s Jesuits in different parts of the U.S. began giving the Nineteenth
Annotation Retreat in a systematic way to lay people and training lay people to
accompany others on this retreat. These initiatives continue to bear fruit to this day.
In the years since the council, the Christian Life Communities have emphasized the
importance of the Spiritual Exercises in the formation of their members. In the
"General Principles and Norms of CLC," (1990) the Exercises are described as "the
specific source and characteristic instrument" of CLC spirituality. This document
requires all persons to make the complete Exercises prior to making a permanent
commitment to CLC. Because it is often difficult for lay persons to find the time to
make the thirty-day retreat, most make the Nineteenth Annotation version of the
Some important books have also been published about the Nineteenth
Annotation Retreat during this time period. When Fr. Joseph Labaj, then provincial
of the Wisconsin Province, invited all of the men of his province to make the
Nineteenth Annotation Retreat in the early 1980s, Eugene Merz, S.J. (WIS) wrote a
booklet entitled, Place Me with Your Son: The Spiritual Exercises in Daily Life, which
suggested prayer materials for each day of the retreat. This booklet — and this version
of the Nineteenth Annotation Retreat — was intended as a way to foster renewal in
Jesuit life and ministries, and it included excerpts from the Constitutions and general
congregations of the Society in the prayer material for each day. The book was later
published by the Maryland Province and used by the Maryland, New York, and
New England Provinces for a similar purpose. James Skehan, S.J., later revised and
Loved into Freedom and Service & 5
For those Jesuits who are not familiar with this retreat, I hope
this article can serve as an introduction to the Nineteenth Annota-
tion Retreat as it is experienced by lay people in our own time. For
Jesuits who are familiar with the retreat and are already accompany-
ing people through this retreat or are training others to do so, I
hope the sustained attention to the specific ways lay people have
found the experience helpful in their daily lives will be illuminating
and bear fruit.
With these purposes in mind, I have structured the essay into
an introductory section in which I will make some general com-
ments about how the retreatants came to know about the Nine-
teenth Annotation Retreat, their motivations for making the retreat,
and what they found helpful in the experience. Then I will consider
the experience of one retreatant for each of the following themes:
(a) the experience of being loved into freedom, (b) the Two Stan-
dards, (c) making choices, and (d) the practice of the examen of
consciousness. Finally, I will make some concluding remarks
about what I have learned from these interviews about the value
of the Nineteenth Annotation Retreat for lay people in our time.
I. The Experiences of Retreatants
How did they learn about the Exercises?
Most of the people I interviewed had some connection with
Jesuits prior to making the Exercises. Some had attended a Jesuit
high school or university; others belonged to a Jesuit parish. Some of
these people had previously done weekend or eight-day retreats or
received spiritual direction in those contexts. Several of the people in
the Detroit area had completed a thirteen-week seminar called
"Finding God in Daily Work," or a two-year internship program in
Ignatian spirituality with Bernard J. Owens, a Jesuit priest from the
Detroit Province. Both of these programs were meant to help people
expanded this book to make it more accessible to lay people and published it as Place
Me with Your Son: Ignatian Spirituality in Everyday Life, 3rd ed. (Georgetown University
Press, Washington, D.C., 1991). In 1989 Joseph Tetlow, S.J., published Choosing Christ
in the World: Directing the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola according to
Annotations Eighteen and Nineteen (St. Louis, Mo.: The Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1989).
Tetlow's book is a handbook for directors and includes brief notes and explanations
that can be copied and given out to retreatants at specified times during the retreat.
6 ^ Patrick M. Kelly, S.J.
grow in their awareness of God's presence in their daily lives and in
the workplace. After each of these programs, some of the partici-
pants made the Nineteenth Annotation Retreat. 8
Informal contacts with others who had a positive experience
making the retreat were also important for some. One woman who
had had no prior contact with the Jesuits was a little bit leery of
moving "into this culture of these guys" (i.e., the Jesuits) and "letting
them take over."
I encountered a buddy of mine who had done the Nineteenth Annota-
tion Retreat. She recommended it to me. She actually had done Jesuit
schooling and she worked for JVC and she was part of our Jesuit Par-
ish and all of that. ... I really trusted her opinion.
Relatively few retreatants had no previous contact with Jesuits
or others who had made the retreat, and found out through adver-
tisements in their parish bulletin or in similar ways about opportuni-
ties to do an internship program in Ignatian spirituality and/or to
make the Nineteenth Annotation Retreat.
Some retreatants were asked whether they would like to make
the Nineteenth Annotation Retreat. The invitation usually came from
a spiritual director, or from someone who knew them well enough
to know where they were in their spiritual lives. For one woman it
came as a complete surprise when her spiritual director, who had
been introducing her to contemplative prayer for over a year, sug-
gested she consider making the Spiritual Exercises.
Well, she might as well have been speaking Greek or speaking in
tongues. I could have understood tongues easier than I could have
understood the "Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola. " I mean,
Dear God! But I trusted her, I trusted her. So, she made some connec-
tions for me. Sure enough, I felt drawn to it. So, I took the Nineteenth
Annotation. And it was life changing and has been life changing.
Being invited to make the Nineteenth Annotation Retreat was
decisive for several retreatants.
Why did they make the Exercises?
All the people I spoke with had had committed prayer lives
for many years, as well as other important formational experiences
After making the retreat, some of the participants also moved into formal
training in spiritual direction.
Loved into Freedom and Service <$- 7
in the Christian faith before making the Exercises. Some of the
retreatants had been involved in the charismatic-renewal movement,
and with groups such as Cursillo or Life in the Spirit Seminar. All of
the retreatants viewed the Exercises as a way to continue their
progress in the Christian life. Some spoke of this as a way to deepen
their relationship with God, others as a way of growing closer to
For some, their job or other circumstances in life influenced
their decision to make the Exercises. One woman, a campus minister
at a Jesuit university, put it this way:
At the time I was working in this Jesuit university, I was being
called upon to talk about Ignatius, to talk about Jesuit this and Jesuit
that. I was surrounded by people now, in this area, who love Jesuits.
Jesuits were up on a pedestal. I was sitting here thinking, "What is
up with this Jesuit stuff"?
As part of the formation program for deacons in one archdio-
cese, the men training for the diaconate and their wives made the
Nineteenth Annotation Retreat. This was the context in which two
of the women with whom I spoke made the retreat. These women
and their husbands now accompany other such couples through the
Nineteenth Annotation Retreat.
None of the retreatants made the retreat to help them make a
major decision. While making the Exercises, however, they did end
up looking at decisions they had already made or would make in
the future. One retreatant, for example, was trying to decide wheth-
er she needed to leave a marriage that was difficult and, at times,
emotionally abusive. Another was trying to decide whether to get
married to someone he had had a close relationship with for many
years. Many said their experience of making the Exercises and
learning about things such as discernment and the examen of con-
sciousness began to influence how they would make choices, both
large and small.
What did they find helpful?
All of the retreatants emphasized that the retreat made them
much more aware of God's loving and redeeming presence in the
world and in their own lives than they were before. As one retreat-
ant put it,
8 ^ Patrick M. Kelly, S.J.
Before I did the Exercises, God was kind of out there. He was pretty
far away. He was pretty disconnected. And if I were to tell you one
thing that was a hallmark of the Exercises for me, it would be — you
know, I thought I knew God and I thought I knew Jesus, But the
Exercises brought me into a whole new realm of intimacy that was
pretty mind-blowing, really.
Important in this respect was a new awareness of the depth of
God's love for them personally. This was foundational for all of
them, although each person experienced it differently. One retreat-
ant found herself asking the question, "Who am I?" during the first
few months of the retreat and realized that it wasn't that she was
the sister of so-and-so and the wife of so-and-so, etc., but that she
was a child of God, pure and simple. As she became more convinced
that her identity was rooted in God's love, she felt a new freedom
with regard to the way she related to others.
Many retreatants said that the emphasis on God's love was
different from what they had learned while growing up. Several of
the retreatants who grew up in the pre- Vatican II Church expressed
a frustration with having been led to believe that the point of the
Christian life consisted primarily in keeping rules or in doing good
deeds. As one man put it, "I was raised with, I am going to give money
to the Patna Missions. Tm going to make so many novenas, I am going to
do so much of that. " When making the Exercises, on the other hand,
You see what Jesus meant and God entering into humanity, that says
God initiates and Tm lovable. . . . One of the things that really lived
for me is, who are the people he associated with? The outcasts, the
woman at the well — I love that story — the leper, the "Prodigal Son"
is an incredible story. Just great stories of the love of God. I have a
little thing in my mirror, it says, "God loves the person in the
mirror. " So you look at that every morning when you get up. God
loves the person in the mirror, me! What the Exercises did is give me
a depth of feeling as to what Jesus and Mary went through, and I
include Mary very much in that, out of love for me. That then is
starting to transfer from the intellectual-historical into a depth of
feeling and intimacy. The Exercises really brought that home to me.
The profound experience of being loved by God did not give
them license to do anything they wanted, however. Rather, this
intimate experience of love gave them a new motivation to live their
Loved into Freedom and Service <$- 9
own lives in a loving manner. A male real-estate developer put it
There are certainly some practice issues involved with being able to
categorize things as good and bad. But what I began to think about or
have more faith in, was this idea that if God loves me that much,
then what do I do with that? . . . The answer is to live in that love
and to live with that love, to live out of love.
And if God loves me that much and I am living out of that love,
then, how could I do these things that are not loving? How could I
do something that is not loving?
Ignatian contemplation of the gospel scenes was new for all of
the retreatants. And they appreciated this form of prayer because it
was a way for them to become engaged with all aspects of their
person — the body, imagination, senses, feelings, and thoughts — with
the scriptural accounts of the life of Christ. They provided many
examples of how their engagement in this kind of prayer played a
crucial role in their coming to know, love, and follow Christ more
closely. Generally speaking, the effect of this closer following of
Christ was to expand their hearts in a compassionate way toward a
wider circle of humanity, and especially toward the poor, suffering,
oppressed, or marginalized.
Although none of the retreatants made the retreat because
they were making a major decision, when they were making the
Exercises they began to think about the choices they had already
made in their lives and the ones that were still in front of them.
Virtually all of the retreatants commented on the importance of
making choices out of a deeper sense of being loved by God and of
growing intimacy with Jesus. As their relationship with Jesus deep-
ened and as they became more attracted to his way of thinking and
living, they said they were less attached to what was financially
lucrative or prestigious or even to what other people wanted them
to do when they would make choices.
Most of the people I spoke with did not use technical termi-
nology when discussing discernment, but they seemed to have
picked up the basics of Ignatius's principles as expressed in the Rules
for Discernment, either through readings, conversations with their
spiritual directors, or by attending talks or workshops on the subject.
They tended to sift through and understand what they learned in
10 ^ Patrick M. Kelly, SJ.
these contexts in dialogue with their own experiences of making
With respect to major life decisions, virtually all of the retreat-
ants emphasized that a good choice or decision would be accompa-
nied by a sense of "rightness" or "fit" and by peace. On the other
hand, they would know if a major decision was not a good one
because of a sense of agitation, a lack of fit, and a loss of peace.
Some mentioned that it was important to pay attention to this
dimension of one's experience over time, however. Some agitation or
disturbance might simply be a part of life, or related to the cross that
one is being called to bear in his or her present situation. According
to the retreatants' descriptions, the peace that God gives was experi-
enced at a deeper level, and could be present in the midst of pain
and difficulties or in joyful and happy times.
II. Loved into Freedom
When you're an advocate for a child you make enemies, which I
kind of hadn't thought of.
One of the most important things the retreatants experienced
during the retreat was a profound sense of God's love for the world
and for them. In every case this experience of God's love proved to
be foundational for the rest of the retreat. And in every case it
brought them to a new level of interior freedom. This new freedom,
they felt, allowed them to be the people God was calling them to be
and to follow Christ more closely.
Susan's story illustrates well the way the experience of being
loved by God can lead to greater interior freedom, which then
enables one to follow Christ more closely. She is a counselor in a
public elementary school and works with students with emotional
problems and learning disabilities. She also teaches a course on
parenting skills at the school and has taught the counseling-skills
sessions in the Spiritual Direction Program at the local Jesuit retreat
I am using pseudonyms for the four retreatants whose experiences I will
discuss in this article, and for other people (family members, friends, etc.) they
Loved into Freedom and Service ^ 11
Susan had an especially important experience of God's love for
her while praying with the story of Christ's birth. She described this
in the following part of her interview:
In St. Ignatius' s way of praying we were taught to put ourselves in
the scene. I would love to do that. My favorite was at Christmas. I
was the baby sitter. That would be very alive. . . . Obviously at
Christmas I got to hold the baby Jesus.
In a later part of the interview she described praying with this scene.
I would just start to visualize the scene. I wouldn't consciously think
where I would be — J would just show up. And in this one I realized I
was a kid, and I was the baby sitter. I had offered to do that. I had
asked to do that: "Could I please be the baby sitter?" Because, you
know, they really needed a break. They were tired. And how could I
get my hands on that baby, basically? [laughing].
One of the benefits of making the Exercises over the course of
nine months is that the longer period of time allows for some of the
experiences of prayer to sink in, even as one is going about one's
ordinary activities. Susan pointed out that the graces associated with
her prayer didn't stay in the forty minutes or hour set aside for
I would be reflecting or gaining insights as Im driving to work. It
would just kind of pop into my head more and more as the year
progressed. So I was starting to make connections and insights would
Some of these insights and connections had to do with trau-
matic things she experienced while growing up. She was initially
disappointed when she started remembering these things, because
she had already dealt with these issues in other ways and thought
they were behind her. During this time, she talked with a Jesuit
director, who suggested that perhaps she had worked through these
things psychologically, but not yet spiritually. She found this sugges-
tion helpful, and said she in fact did experience another level of
healing during the retreat. An important part of the healing hap-
pened while she was praying with the Nativity scene.
I remember the part when I was in the Nativity scene, Mary called
me "daughter, " and for the first time in my life it was okay to be a
daughter. So there was that whole movement then into — I can iden-
12 ^ Patrick M. Kelly, S.J.
tify myself with the daughter now. . . . So the overflow is tremen-
Asked to describe what the experience when Mary called her daugh-
ter was like, she said:
She looked at me and I had the baby. And she just called me daugh-
ter. It was just very powerful, very moving and very affectionate.
And I heard it as affectionate. . . .
But to have it expressed with such affection and warmth — and
because I was visually there and could hear the word, could see her
face and just be enveloped into that warmth. Even with all she had
been through, she could look at somebody else and think of somebody
else and be grateful that somebody picked up her baby or helped in
any way. It was powerful.
When asked if she had any beliefs that influenced the way she
prayed or if her prayer influenced what she believed, she replied:
Yes, absolutely! All of a sudden it was okay to be a daughter. Then it
was okay to pray to Abba. And some of that had come earlier. I was
doing journaling and came up with this description of God . . .
distant, judgmental, harsh, condemning. . . .
. . . But it was during the Exercises, the experience of being called
daughter — that all of a sudden — it was Mary first.
Susan's experiences while making the Exercises contributed to
a profound change in her self-conception and how she related to
others. For example, she began to realize that she had a tendency
always to do or say things she thought would please others. This
way of relating to others kept her from taking the risks involved in
saying what she thought or how she felt, especially in situations of
conflict. The experience she was having of being loved by God was
leading to a new kind of freedom in this regard. As she puts it,
I think when you are loved and its okay to be a daughter, its okay to
be who you are, you start taking risks that I never would have taken,
fust the fact that its okay that people don't all like me — and its part
of my job — I wouldn't have been able to live with before. But it
doesn't matter if these people don't like me, because Tm loved.
It turns out that as Susan was making the Nineteenth Annota-
tion Retreat, she began to find herself in situations of conflict in her
daily life. These situations provided her with an opportunity to put
Loved into Freedom and Service 4f 13
into practice the new way of relating to others that she was feeling
called to in her prayer. The situations were ones where she was
feeling called to act on behalf of others less fortunate, the kinds of
actions that Jesus calls his disciples to take in the gospels. 10 In her job
as an elementary-school counselor, for example, she felt some of the
teachers were not attentive enough to the special needs of the
children who were struggling with emotional problems and learning
disabilities. She would tell the teachers that they can't be expecting
the same behavior from these students as they would from others.
The teachers insisted on doing things the way they had for years,
however, telling her that the children have to be ready for the
world. Susan said that in the past she would have shied away from
a conflict such as this with the teachers.
I would have avoided conflict. I do not like conflict. But when you
know that you're loved and that this is your vocation and God has
confirmed that — you can mess with me, but don't mess with my kids!
Susan was involved in another situation of conflict at this time.
The year before she began the Exercises, her nineteen-year-old son
Thomas was fatally struck by a car while riding his bicycle. She
found out that there had been seven accidents in five months at the
intersection where Thomas died, the seventh resulting in his death.
In fact, before her son's accident several people had written letters to
the county officials over the course of many years insisting that
something be done about this intersection, but the county took no
action. After considering her options, she decided that filing a
lawsuit against the county was the most likely way to get the county
to take action to make the intersection safer. The other people in the
group making the retreat were surprised she was filing the suit, and
her children tried to persuade her not to do it. And I said: "I cannot
not do it. " Because if somebody before Thomas had done it, they would have
fixed the intersection.
While praying with Matthew's Gospel, Susan was struck by how much of
Jesus' ministry was devoted to healing people. She felt a call to participate in this
healing ministry, specifically, in her work at the school with children with emotional
difficulties and learning disabilities. She initially resisted, not feeling worthy, but over
time it became clear to her that this was how God was calling her. "What really came
out in the Exercises was God telling me to 'Be my compassion.' It was just — it was
14 <$► Patrick M. Kelly, S.J.
So she filed the lawsuit, with the hope of preventing others
from being injured or losing their lives and other parents from
having to suffer the agony she was experiencing. Even she was
surprised at her boldness in the process, however: "But again, this
was where, "Who is this -person? was coming out. I was surprised that I did
it and kept going." Susan was not able to be in court on the first day
of the trial and the judge threw the case out — something not al-
lowed by law. When she came to the courthouse the next day, she
insisted on speaking to the judge, but was told that the judge would
not speak to her, since the case had been thrown out.
And I said to the court reporter, "Well, Im not leaving until I speak
to her. " He said, "No, you would best go home. She's dismissed it. " J
said: "Well, she's an elected official. Im not leaving until I speak to
her. " The lawyer was even looking at me. I said to the judge: "You
know, you can't do this." And she said: "I know. And I would hate to
be in your position — trying to find a reason for your son's death. "
And all of a sudden I said: "Thafs why Im here— so you never have
to do that. I just want to prevent this. " So she put it back in.
When she was on the stand, Susan's lawyer asked her why
she was suing the county.
And the other lawyer objected. And the judge said: "No. I want to
hear this" [both laugh]. And I said: "Im a teacher. We're held ac-
countable all the time. You would think that County — one
of the five richest counties in the United States — you just assume
this is done right. Then we find out that letters were sent ten or
twelve years ago. Troy High said that this is a dangerous intersec-
tion. "Okay, we'll fix it." Then there's another letter. Then they put
up a new obstruction and there's seven accidents within five
months — the seventh being my son. I can't let there be eight, nine,
During the case the lawyers for the county were telling Susan
that nobody had ever won a case against the county and were
suggesting in not so subtle ways that she was at fault for what
happened to her son.
They had this pre-meeting where they did everything in their power
to intimidate me. They actually told me I was a terrible parent. That
I didn't know where my son was. I said he was a mile and a half
Loved into Freedom and Service ^ 15
from home. It was ten o'clock and he was nineteen and he was going
seven miles an hour. Yeah. You can't really go that route.
Susan won the lawsuit, which meant the county would be making
adjustments at the intersection.
As I mentioned earlier, Susan came to experience herself as a
daughter of the God whom she could address as "Abba" during the
course of the Exercises. This realization was profoundly healing and
gave her the strength and confidence to live in a bolder way — inspired
by Christ's own life-for-others, and in particular for those who were
suffering or overlooked. Her newfound sense of trust in God's love
allowed her the freedom to forget about herself, in a sense, or about
how others perceived her and to focus on the needs of those she was
serving. This holy boldness even stayed with her in the courtroom
when she was told her case was dismissed, and when attorneys for the
county attempted to blame her for her son's death. When the judge said
she would hate to be in her position, trying to find a reason for her
son's death (an attempt to suggest that this was Susan's problem, and
was going to be dismissed by the court), Susan used the judge's very
words to persuade her of the importance of going forward. 11
III. The Two Standards
There are certain things about the Exercises that I love. I love the fact
that Ignatius speaks about liberty. Christians are often the most
bound people on the planet. No wonder people aren't drawn to us. I
mean, who wants morbidity and more bondage? Ignatius speaks
about freedom. We are free to choose, we are free to discern. We
are free to go after whatever flag, and we are free to go back and
live his life.
Susan's story reminded me of Jesus' words to his disciples in Luke's Gospel:
"When they bring you before . . . rulers and authorities, do not worry about how to
defend yourselves or what to say. The Holy Spirit will teach you at that moment all
that should be said" (Luke 12:11-12). Susan herself felt that she was being helped by
the Spirit in some sense in this process. The point of her story was that she was
encouraged and strengthened by her new sense of God's love for her and did not
have to shy away from conflict. She felt that she was being "given," in some sense,
the courage and resources — even the words — to act on behalf of others (in this case,
trying to prevent needless suffering).
16 ^ Patrick M. Kelly, S.J.
Maureen is the co-owner and vice-president of a company on
the West Coast that she and her husband founded in 1989; it pro-
vides short-term training to injured workers, preparing them for
employment in the health-insurance industry, the medical field, and
in the business community in general. Their course offerings include
courses in the areas of medical-claims processing and com-
puter-based business skills. Maureen works with the employees and
sees her work to be critical to the company's goals.
I deal with the people, the employees, to encourage, to lift up, to
admonish, and to give them hope in what they are doing. Almost all
of our students are injured workers. So they come angry, they come
fearful. So our job is to say, "You may never go back to the employ-
ment that you had, but there is a future and there is a hope and there
is a dream that you can resurrect. " So, I believe my role for the staff
is to continue to build them up, because they deal on a day-to-day
basis with injured workers.
Some of the retreatants were frustrated with what they felt
was an overemphasis in the pre-Vatican II Church on following
rules, but frustration was not limited to those who were raised as
Catholic. Maureen, who was raised in the Assemblies of God
Church, experienced something similar during her childhood. As she
remembers it, in her church "salvation" was "dependent on things such
as if you wore make-up, or if you went to the movies, or if you swore.
Which I did all three. " Because of the discrepancy between these moral
norms and the way she was living, she was often anxious about
where she stood in relation to the "salvation" question.
I used to stand out in front of the movies and stand in line and say,
"Please Jesus do not come, please Jesus do not come until I am out of
the movies." I mean, it is just hysterical [laughter]. . . . It really was
always based on fear, not on love. It was whether or not you loved
God, not whether or not He loved you. So, it was conditional.
Maureen had a very different experience during the Exercises
while praying with the account of Jesus' baptism in the Gospel of
John. After contemplating the baptism of Jesus, she walked into the
river and was baptized herself.
And I come out of the water and I hear, "This is my beloved daugh-
ter, this is my beloved and I take delight in her. " I am so in the scene
and I am thinking, "Oh, yes." When Jesus comes and he stands
Loved into Freedom and Service «0> 17
behind me, I don't see him but I know he is there and I hear him
speak into this ear, "Did you hear it?" And I am saying, "Oh, I did, I
did, I heard, I heard the thought. " Then he speaks into my other ear
and he says, "Did you really hear it?" So, then I have to take and sit
with "I am his beloved and he takes delight in me and do I, honest to
God, believe it?"
The Two Standards were particularly important and helpful
for Maureen, inasmuch as they alerted her to ways in which she
could be diverted from living a life rooted in the love of God and
reaching out to others in love. Maureen was drawn to this medita-
tion, in part, because of the military imagery involved. She talked
about how as a young girl she would paint pictures of Joan of Arc in
art class, and that she chose Teresa as her confirmation name after
Teresa of Avila, whose "daddy had to go after her [when] she was going
to fight the heathens."
I realized that there is a militancy, obviously, that I was drawn to. In
the Exercises, probably one of my favorite things and one of the
things that I live with daily, is the standards, the two flags. In that
medieval army, if you didn't keep your eye on the flag bearer, you
could forget what army you were in. I was just drawn to that. 11
As Maureen understood it, the standard of Satan was associ-
ated with power, riches, and fame and the standard of Christ with
poverty and humility. She came to realize she had to be careful
about the attraction of the first standard in her day-to-day life at
work. She mentioned in particular the attraction of being in control
of people and situations or in a position of power over others.
When I find that in even the smallest detail, if I have got to be the
one that has the last word, if I have got to be the one that has got to
be in control, [if] I am moving towards a need to have the power, I
have to pull back and ask myself, Have I taken my eyes off Christ?
Maureen recognized the reality that she was in a position of
power at her work place in relation to the employees. But she was
sensitive to the difference between using this power in a domineer-
ing way and using it — in a relational context — to empower the other
Some commentators caution directors that the imagery in the Exercises — and
the military imagery in particular — can be disturbing and therefore unhelpful for
women. Maureen appears to be an exception in this regard.
18 ^ Patrick M Kelly, S.J.
person. She understood the latter to be more in line with the stan-
dard of Christ.
The other day here at the office, I had to deal with an employee in a
correcting situation. Now I have the power over her because I am her
employer. However, I felt that I needed to give her the room to
explain where she was coming from. I had to let go of that power that
said, but this is what you did and this is the result of it; instead, I
must ask her if she would like to tell her story so that we could come
to a shared understanding of what was going on, so that I am not
holding on to the power over anybody 's life. When I do that, because I
have a bit of a dynamic personality — when I do that, I know that I
have taken my eyes off my flag bearer.
Q: When you try to have control over somebody?
When I have to win the argument. I really struggle. One of the
things that I really, really struggle with is truth is truth is truth,
and to allow someone else to stand in truth as they see it. That is
difficult for me. So, I ask for the grace, "Lord help me, grant me the
grace to allow someone to stand in the truth as they see it, for where
they are. "
She also began to realize that living according to Jesus' stan-
dard might mean that other people do not understand her at times,
which she found difficult to accept.
The other grace that I ask for when I am looking at his flag is that I
will not always be understood. And I have this great desire and
penchant to be understood. I can not stand to be misunderstood.
Maureen said she barely made it through the movie The
Shawshank Redemption, a film about a bank executive who is wrongly
accused of murdering his wife and her lover and suffers terrible
abuse in prison for years before his escape.
But, he gets out of prison, and he knows that he is innocent, and he
knows that he has a way to prove it now, but instead, he just takes
the money that he has hidden and goes to Mexico and builds boats. I
am screaming in my head, "Take an ad out in the New York Times,
publish it. You are innocent. " I really have to ask for the grace to
stand when I am misunderstood because that is humility that leads to
humiliations. Then I am not trying to be either in control or power-
ful, but being willing to be misunderstood and not feeling that I have
to make it right.
Loved into Freedom and Service ^ 19
.".V.V.'.V.'.*. .. -..-.-... • ■ - • • * ...... .V. ••" .V. .,.*.. .*.*.*.■.• * . V.V.V.*.*.V.V.*.V. •
The Two Standards were also very important as a guideline
for a decision Maureen was making about her involvement in
ministry outside the workplace. In order to understand this aspect of
her life, we have to backtrack a bit. After her difficult childhood
experiences of growing up in the Assembly of God Church, Maureen
had many other important experiences before she made the Nine-
teenth Annotation Retreat. One in particular was life changing. After
she graduated from the university, she married and had two chil-
dren. When she was delivering her third child, a daughter, there
were complications. In the midst of the trauma she was undergoing
in the delivery room, she said she had an experience of Christ's
When it was all over, the doctor said to me, I had tears running
down my cheeks, and he said, "Oh honey, I am so sorry we didn't
know that it was going to happen, it was just one of these freak kinds
of things. " 7 wanted to say, "Be quiet, he quiet, be quiet. I am not
weeping because of that, I am weeping because Jesus was here and I
don't know how he got here because I haven't kept the rules. I don't
know how he got here and I don't know if he will come again. " So, I
lived on that experience for several years.
After this experience of Christ's presence during the successful
but complicated birth of her daughter, she began to pray regularly,
participate in Bible studies, and read widely in the area of Christian
spirituality. She started a popular Bible-story-telling group for chil-
dren. She also became a much-sought-after Christian speaker to
Protestant groups in America and abroad for about thirty years.
These ministries earned her the Bishop's Cross, the most prestigious
honor a lay person can receive in the Episcopal Church. 13
After she had made the Nineteenth Annotation Retreat, her
life was moving in different directions, however. She and her hus-
band had become Catholics. She did a three year internship in
spiritual direction. During this time, while speaking at a Presbyterian
retreat, she had an experience where she felt God was gently draw-
ing her away from the ministry as a Christian speaker. This was not
easy for her.
She and her husband had joined the Episcopal Church after they were
20 ^ Patrick M. Kelly, S.J.
Well okay, after thirty years of speaking you become pretty well
known in my little world. I was in a Presbyterian retreat, walking
into my bedroom, getting ready for my next talk. I had this sense
that the Lord was saying that this was the last time that I would do
anything like this. . . . But it was real scary because it is thirty years
of giving your heart to it and being, in my little world, famous.
Asked if this experience was related to the Two Standards, she
said: "Well, I didn't realize it at the time except I felt what will happen — /
mean, who will I be? Who will I be?" She referred to a group of four
women speakers who traveled the country and would fill large
venues such as the Rose Bowl and Anaheim Stadium. One of her
daughters tried to encourage her to participate in this ministry.
She said, "Momma, you could be a part of that; you are as good as
they are. You could be a part of that. " I said, "But it holds no attrac-
tion for me; it is not where my heart is." Then I realized that I didn't
need it. I didn't need the power that goes with it and I didn't need
the fame that goes with it, and in some ways, the riches in those
situations that go with it. So, I began to just say, "Jesus, then what
do you have for me?"
During this time, Maureen had an important experience while
praying with the story of the Samaritan woman at the well. As the
story is told in John's Gospel, Jesus had asked the woman for a
drink of water from the well. She asked him how he, a Jew, could
ask her, a Samaritan woman, for a drink of water (since Jews and
Samaritans share nothing in common). According to John's Gospel,
Jesus responded, "If you only knew the gift of God, and who is
saying to you, 'Give me a drink,' you would have asked him and he
would have given you living water" (John 4:10). The part of the
story that touched Maureen was the first four words: "If you only
knew. " "All I got to was If you only knew' If you only knew.' Just those
words, If you only knew' "
She continued to pray with these four words and wrote in her
journal about the prayer experiences to try to understand their
significance for her life. Asked if the journaling process led her to
any awarenesses, she replied:
Well yes, "if I only knew" that I would — I have never liked small
groups. I am not much of a groupie. So, the large groups are fine,
and for me, I am quite safe in a large group especially if I am the
speaker. And yet, I am drawn now to small groups. I am drawn
Loved into Freedom and Service ^ 22
where I can go eyeball to eyeball and encourage them to be conscious.
So, last night in my home I started a group that has done the anno-
Maureen had accompanied these people through the Nine-
teenth Annotation Retreat and was providing spiritual direction for
them now. They wanted to continue to meet as a group in some
fashion as well.
So, there were twelve of them last night. If somebody had told me
that I would be taking my time with a hearts desire, if I had only
known that the Nineteenth Annotation, those Exercises, contempla-
tive prayer, letting go of what I had known for thirty years, and now
shutting the doors to my house, lighting a candle, and being with a
small group of people, and finding sheer joy in journeying with them,
I would never have believed it. But I would never have believed the
previous thirty years either. But, this seems different and deeper to
me and I am not discounting anything else that I might have done or
been effective at. But, I love, I love, absolutely love seeing people
having an "Aha" moment.
IV. Making Choices
The Exercises reminded me of Ignatius's notion that somehow we're
created to praise, honor, and serve God, and in a kind of slightly less
stilted vernacular, it means that I am here for a reason and that
reason has something to do with serving God and that serving God
is going to look something like the way God served other people
when he was a human being, so Jesus' life.
James is a professor of political science at a public university in
the Midwest, whose research interests have to do with the countries
of the former Czechoslovakia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and
the former Yugoslavia, especially Croatia. He has been a consultant
to the political leaders of Slovakia and Croatia, and writes editorial
columns related to his areas of research. While he was still an under-
graduate student, he became interested in what was going on in the
former Czechoslovakia after hearing Vaclav Havel (then president of
Czechoslovakia) speak when he was in Washington, D.C., to address
the U.S. Congress in 1990. President Havel personally invited college
students to come to Czechoslovakia to teach English, and something
22 ^ Patrick M. Kelly, S.J.
about the democratic traditions of the West. James did so the year
after he graduated. He worked with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps for
one year after that, and then started graduate studies in political
science. At that time Czechoslovakia was splitting apart, with the
two halves moving in very different directions.
And it was, for a social scientist, an almost perfect experiment be-
cause you've got one country that had the same conditions, the same
institutional structure for seventy years splitting in half And it
looked like at the time, and this is what actually happened, the two
halves were going to move in different directions. So I went to
Slovakia, learned the language, which is mutually comprehensible
with Czech, and started to do field work and that is how it moved in
James was first introduced to Ignatian retreats while an under-
graduate student at a Jesuit university. He described himself as
having been "fairly strongly agnostic" through his adolescence, until
the age of twenty, when he made his first five-day Ignatian retreat.
During that retreat he returned to a belief in God that has not
altered dramatically since. Indeed, he said the experiences he had on
that retreat "laid the foundation for everything that I have come to since
If the foundation was laid with the first retreat, James said that
it took many retreats to alter his value system fundamentally. He
described himself as being very competitive and self-interested when
he first arrived at the university. Because of the retreats, he said he
was becoming more compassionate and concerned about others and
the world around him. When he would come back from the retreats
his friends also noticed that he was different and would comment
on it. The difference didn't necessarily last a long time, however, and
"the more compassionate, more caring me kind of ebbed, I think, back to
what I was more comfortable with." But gradually, over time, the re-
treats had an influence.
Each time that I do this there is more of a residual level on the
bottom. I am more that person than I was before I did it, and it kind
of peaks and then some of that wipes away, but not all of it. So
there's more of it left each time. So I really do think that it played a
critical role at a couple of critical points in my life in moving me in
the direction of more compassion, more concern for social justice,
more concern for other people. I think it was real important in that
Loved into Freedom and Service <$> 23
regard, actually. I became more conscious that it wasn't all about me.
There was something bigger, more important.
He made other retreats while in college, and was aware that
the Jesuits for whom he worked would periodically leave to make
their own eight-day and thirty-day retreats. He worked for a Jesuit
who "talked constantly about the Exercises," and who made the Princi-
ple and Foundation an explicit matter for reflection in the work-
place. And so he was familiar with the Spiritual Exercises and had
some appreciation for them when he came home from doing some
work abroad in 1999 to discover that his wife had signed up to make
the Nineteenth Annotation Retreat at their Jesuit parish. She asked if
he, too, wanted to make the retreat. There was one space left, and
James signed up.
The Nineteenth Annotation Retreat deepened what James had
experienced in the earlier retreats, particularly the experience of
being loved by God and called to be compassionate and loving
toward others. During both the earlier retreats and in the Nine-
teenth Annotation one, James was discovering a self, "a more compas-
sionate, more caring me" whose desires and aspirations could be
trusted, because they were related to the kind of person God was
calling him to be. And this realization has influenced how he has
made the major decisions of his life.
Here I really am influenced by the Ignatian notion that underneath it
all my real desire does have something to do with God and Gods
desire. And so, Tve used, in particular, the mechanism with big
decisions of getting up one morning and imagining my life as if I had
chosen option A and trying to get up the next morning and imagine
my life as if I had chosen option B. And I did that when choosing
graduate schools, I did that when choosing jobs. And so I think the
idea that somewhere inside of me is the capacity to know what is
more and what is less of what God would want me to do, and more
or less what I really want — that notion has been at the basis of those
Similar to the other retreatants, James said he takes his feelings
seriously when he is making a significant choice. By doing so, he can
become aware of what the "full T" wants, as he puts it.
I think a kind of a cost-benefit weighing is nice but I don't put as
much stock in that as in emotional response, gut feeling, this idea of
waking up with option A in mind and seeing how it makes me feel —
24 <f Patrick M. Kelly, S.J.
whether it makes me happy, concerned, anxious. I think ifs a real
sign for me. I don't know how accurate it is but at least Ive taken
that as a sign of what — somehow beyond the conscious mind the full
"V is feeling or thinking. So I think its sort of taking the options and
subjecting them to the full person and not just the intellect.
He used this approach when deciding which graduate school
to attend, which has had long-term consequences for his profes-
When I discerned, I had a choice between entering the University of
Chicago, Chicago being by far the more prestigious school. A school in
the city where I was already living, but my visit there was one that
filled me with a lot of anxiety for a variety of reasons. Because it
looked forbidding, also kind of anonymous, also aggressively theoreti-
cal, as they called themselves, whereas the Notre Dame visit fit much
more with, not necessarily my intellectual aspirations, but I think
with who I felt I was at the time. And I remember spending the two
days, the Chicago day and the Notre Dame day where I would try
and see how it made me feel. I felt much more relaxed, much more
comfortable with the Notre Dame option. Now, I don't know how it
would have happened had I gone to Chicago, but I know that I got at
Notre Dame the things that I was probably looking for in a way that
I might not have gotten them from Chicago. There was, is, a norma-
tive aspect to the kind of academic work done at Notre Dame that I
don't think you'd see in Chicago. There were a whole variety of ways
that I think the decision really did fit more who I was and who I
wanted to become.
James associated feeling more relaxed and comfortable while at
Notre Dame with being in a place where he could be himself and
could grow into the person God was calling him to be. This was a
theme he returned to often: "There was something about that decision
that said to me that I would be more — um — well, I would be more me if I
chose the one over the other."
He also mentioned that it was important to pay attention to
his fears when making a significant decision. He distinguished
between fears which were related to his own psychological history,
which it would be important to face, and other fears that served for
him as a warning sign that he was moving in a direction that rubbed
against his deepest self and desires. When considering a given
option, he said, he can sometimes feel "This is not who I want to be. I
Loved into Freedom and Service -$- 25
am afraid of the person that I would be if I made this decision, or afraid of
becoming that person. "
James said that the experience of going through this process of
decision making in his own life, which he feels has borne fruit,
influences how he interacts with students. For one thing, he takes
the time to talk with students about the decisions they are making in
I spend a lot of time talking to them about where they want to be,
what land of person they want to be, what kind of career they should
pursue to be that kind of person. I think all of which is really related
to this sort of Ignatian approach about discernment of vocation and
other things. . . . So, it certainly influenced me in that regard.
He has also found ways to allow the "more compassionate, more
caring' part of him to come through in the classroom, and to chal-
lenge his students to discover that part of themselves. Since making
the Nineteenth Annotation Retreat, he has rewritten his syllabi to
incorporate social-justice themes more fully into his classes. When he
teaches from these syllabi, he says that he feels that he is being the
person God is calling him to be.
Yeah, I really accept this notion that somewhere buried under every-
thing is a me that looks like the kind of me that a God, a loving God
would create. I am certainly not that in most of my daily life. So I
mean I do feel as if there is that kind of identity there in a still-
limited form. But it does feel that way, when Im able to get the
social-justice message across. I do a little exercise with students where
I divide them up according to the 1960 world distribution of income.
I try to make sure that the wealthier students in the class get pissed
off at the wealth that the rich have on the other side of the room.
Then I update it with the 1995 world distribution, which would
mean taking away some of the little that they have and giving it to
the other people on the other side. I have the satisfaction in seeing
that work in a way thatfs almost unrivaled in any of my teaching
experiences. So yeah, it does feel that way. It feels like Tm doing the
right thing. The same is true in a couple of book groups that my wife
and I are in, and in the Social Justice Committee in our parish which
is re-forming. So yeah, there are a couple of circumstances in which it
really does feel like, "Yeah, this is what I should be. "
The decision he made to attend Notre Dame for graduate
studies, in part because of the department's approach to political
26 <$► Patrick M. Kelly, SJ.
science that took normative considerations into account, has had
long-term consequences for the way he does his work. He is not
satisfied with only publishing in academic journals or presenting
papers at academic conferences, although he does these things. He
also hopes to have an influence on people's lives in the parts of the
world he studies.
I see myself to be more active than some of my colleagues in using
what I find in descriptive, analytical academic research in a norma-
tive context. Which means writing opinionated editorial pieces; it
means doing a sort of consulting work, not only on what I see but
what I feel ought to be done. I deal with countries, which are only
recently democratic, and Ive spent quite a bit of time trying to work
with people who work in and with those countries on solidifying,
consolidating those democracies. . . . When people don't have the right
to talk about other ways of redistributing income because someone in
power is preventing them from doing it, democracy is taking first
place in my mind. As these countries consolidate, however, my
research is increasingly going to be pointed at the question of social
democracy and of kind of equitable resolution of ethnic conflicts. A
couple of countries I study have larger groups that dominate smaller
ones and produce a variety of unjust circumstances. So, yeah, Igna-
tian spirituality really does play a role in why I research what I
research, and what I do with that research. Itfs not for me just a
question of publication but its a question of direct — getting involved
sometimes. Not so much that it destroys my so-called objectivity or
credibility, but enough that I can feel like Im actually playing some
kind of a role.
V. Examen of Consciousness
We're not just looking back to something that happened or some
words somebody wrote several thousand years ago, wrote them
down and now we have something to follow. It's living, breathing,
supporting, guiding, loving all the time, and transforming all the
time. I don't know how strong my beliefs in all those things were
five or ten years ago, but they're dead center in how I move now.
One of the more challenging aspects of any retreat experience
lies in finding ways to allow the graces of this special time to be-
Loved into Freedom and Service ^ 27
come a part of retreatants' lives as they return to their ordinary
routines. For the retreatants I spoke with, this meant, How does one
continue to live one's life out of a deep sense of being loved by God
and called to be a follower of Christ, as one goes about one's daily
responsibilities? And, in particular, how does one discern how God
is leading one in the midst of the circumstances of everyday life? Of
course, the Nineteenth Annotation Retreat is unique, in the sense
that the retreat itself is made in the context of daily life. But still, it is
a special time when one is spending more time in prayer than usual,
and talking with a spiritual director more regularly. This kind of
retreat, in other words, still involves a transition back to one's ordi-
For Ignatius, the examen of conscience was one of the most
helpful ways to stay attuned to the graces and challenges or tempta-
tions in one's daily life. In our time, this is commonly referred to as
the examen of consciousness, and involves paying attention to places
where one stands in need of God's mercy and forgiveness, as well as
to the consolations and desolations of a given time period. This
practice was important for Michael as he moved back into his ordi-
nary life and routines after the Nineteenth Annotation Retreat.
When asked about his current spiritual practices, one of the first
things Michael mentioned was the examen.
The examen process is another thing that I try to do with some
regularity — that process of really being aware of Gods presence,
being enfolded in that, being seen and being supported, and being
loved in that presence and then moving on. And taking a look at the
day before — it might be the week before — and seeing where there were
times of consolation or desolation, or where there were tensions. And
you could put a number of different names on it: Keating in the
centering prayer tradition calls it afflictive emotions. Where you see
that happening, to me thafs the Spirit saying, "Somethings happen-
ing in your spirit right now, pay attention to that. " So too with the
consolation experiences. Where are those graced moments popping up
in a day or last week or last half a day? And then things start to crop
up even month to month. You start to see a pattern.
For Michael, experiences of consolation have an affective
dimension to them. They are experiences of joy and hope. They are
"very heartfelt experiences. They 're warm. They 're love." The affective
experiences associated with desolation are the opposite of those of
28 ^ Patrick M. Kelly, S.J.
consolation. Most importantly in his view, however, experiences of
consolation involve "a very noticeable increase in, you know, the bottom
line, the three virtues: faith, hope, love." He pays attention primarily to
this dimension of his experience when doing the examen.
Despite everything else that is going on, whafs my faith doing?
What is my level of hope in this situation? Am I loving? Or am I a
little more loving than I was to this person yesterday? Or what
direction am I going? Am I working out of faith, or am I afraid?
Whafs the bottom line? Am I fearful? Do I mistrust this person? Am
I operating out of mistrust? Is that the thing I am experiencing right
now? Do I have some level of contempt or ill will or blown-up ego or
distorted image? To me those all fall into the desolation category.
On other occasions, he may look back over the day and feel
sorrow about the way he responded to a situation.
And then there are other times where . . . an event in the day where I
know that my response just was not what it could have been, espe-
cially in an attitude I might have about somebody, being angry on
the road driving and being just totally worked up about it. . . . Being
able to see that in day-to-day events and feel that and be very sorrow-
ful and feel the release of something and a bit of a transformation.
Thats Gods grace at work.
For Michael, the Nineteenth Annotation Retreat, the examen
of consciousness, along with his more recent practice of centering
prayer, have led him to a greater awareness of God's presence in the
world and in his own life experiences. He mentioned in this regard
one span of time during which he had healing interpersonal interac-
tions with several different people — interactions he says he probably
would not have been available for prior to beginning these practices.
The first incident he recounted had to do with Greg, one of
his closest friends from graduate school. Greg had been an active
cyclist and a very healthy person when he first met him. But he
eventually developed Lou Gehrig's disease, a rapidly progressive
neurological disease that attacks the nerve cells responsible for
controlling voluntary muscles. Persons who have this disease gradu-
ally lose the ability to move their arms, legs, and eventually their
whole body. Greg experienced these things and eventually died
from the disease. Recently, Michael was attending a conference in
Orlando, Florida, and he made plans to visit Greg's parents who
Loved into Freedom and Service ^ 29
:'x : :v" ; : :-: ; : y : y ; yy : y- yy-'v -vyy: v.-.v.v •:• y. «;y:y.yAy.:.v.'y.:.;y.yy : ^yyXyy.j.y.yy;. AxAvyyy^y; .:.y.y:y:y,\y •.:.;.:.:.• yy.y.y; .•/•;■:•:■:.-•.■: , .■:■:•;■ : y. >:-.:. \y v -.yy.y,;.y y,y: :v .:-.-.
lived outside of Orlando. He hadn't seen them in twelve or thirteen
I ended up meeting with Sharon (Gregs sister) and Gregs parents,
and it was such a healing process. I think for them, too. I honestly
don't know if I could have even entertained that in another state of
life. I think the prayer time and the mode of being facilitated that
openness and my ability to pour myself out to them and he there and
On the way home he stopped to see his mother, who lived in
New Orleans. Her sister had died just a few weeks before after
having lived and struggled with Alzheimer's for many years. This
illness and death affected his mother more than she had anticipated,
and Michael felt that it was good that he could spend time with her
and just listen to her.
Although they knew this was coming for a long time, it affected her
much more than she had anticipated. . . . She just talked. I could tell
by the end of my short visit — I was there maybe three or four days —
that our interactions had somehow brought some sense of healing to
When he returned to work at the university, a student came and
talked with him about personal problems in her life.
When I got back here, I was in my office, and one of our undergradu-
ate students came in and just sat down and started talking about
some personal issues she was having. I didn't ask for any of this. She
came to me. Just started telling me stories about how she was doing
in school. Some family issues, some painful things that were happen-
ing in her life. She was somehow comforted by the things I was able
to offer her. Now, you can draw your own conclusions from all of
that, but I think it has to do with sort of a state of being and a result
of a prayer life.
For Michael, these kinds of relationships with an ever-expand-
ing number of people in different situations are what Jesus promises
those who give up everything and follow him. He recaDed the
gospel story of the rich young man, whom Jesus tells to keep the
commandments, give away what he has to the poor, and follow him.
The rich young man went away sad, according to the story. Michael
recalled that a little later in the story Peter says to Jesus, "We have
30 <f Patrick M. Kelly, S.J.
given up everything and followed you," seemingly wondering what
it is he and the other disciples can expect.
Jesus' reply to them is, "Well, what you can expect is, you're going to
have more brothers and sisters and relatives and everything than you
can imagine." I don't think they get it, what that means. But to me
thafs the whole idea. Moving out of a prayer space, you get more
brothers and sisters and people that you're connected to and that
you're concerned about than you ever imagined.
So I can see that. Sort of the day-to-day routine, how I interact
with folks, who they are to me now is a little bit different than they
were five or ten years ago. And I don't know where that will stop,
really. It always seems to be getting a little bigger.
Michael ended up doing the Nineteenth Annotation Retreat
because he had been interested in the role of spirituality in the
workplace. He had done a two-year internship program in Ignatian
spirituality that had precisely this focus. After the internship, he
made the Nineteenth Annotation Retreat. During this time he was
offered the job he currently has, doing research in basic radiology at
a public research university. The offer of a new job provided him
with an opportunity to make a concrete discernment in relation to
The practice of paying attention to the faith dimension of his
own experience during the examen turned out to be very helpful
when it came time for him to make this decision regarding a change
of jobs. When he told his former employer about the job offer at the
university, the employer offered him more money and new respon-
sibilities in an attempt to get him to stay. But Michael knew the
company had many problems, and there were even some core
values that were in conflict with his own values. When he imagined
himself staying with his former company, he noticed he felt uneasy
and agitated. When he considered his reasons for staying, he real-
ized the appeals were primarily to his ego, a sign for him that this
might not be where the Spirit was leading him.
There was just such an agitation with staying where I was. . . . It
was an agitation, but it wasn't a neutral thing. It just definitely
seemed to me to be more about an enticement and a lure that I
could rationalize taking, because maybe I was called to be in this
Loved into Freedom and Service ^ 31
place and help straighten things out or whatever. The appeals
were all to my ego.
On the other hand, when he considered taking the position at
the university, even though in some ways he was entering the
unknown, and had to step out in faith, he said:
Something was very correct, very right about it. That was very
present, this rightness, this sort of lightness, Til say. Just very cor-
rect. . . . 77ns sense of connecting with the people, what the job was,
a lightness about it, a sense of hopefulness about it — all this just said,
''This is it!"
And I call that a discernment because there were so many things
enticing me to stay in the familiar environment with the people I had
come to know and stay where I was living and just change titles and
salary and grow into that spot. There were things that on the surface
looked very right about that. Very right. But the process for me was
that I just had to keep listening to what was underneath all of that.
What were the movements that I was experiencing under that? In
which of these two decisions did I feel more at peace? and have more
hope? and have a sense that this was going to flow out into some-
thing very fruitful in the world?
Michael's experiences over the last five years at the university
have confirmed the decision he made. He mentioned that he origi-
nally focused his engineering studies in the biomedical area, which
would enable him to direct his research toward the medical field in
such a way that it could end up helping people. He does just this
kind of research in his position at the university.
Its all related, fm convinced. Even back when I was in grad school, I
would think, people who were on some kind of spiritual path, some
people become social workers and some people are counselors and
some people work in soup kitchens. But what do you do when you're
really good at digital-logic circuits? I don't know. Where's the slant
there? And there are a variety of things I could have done with an
engineering degree. I certainly didn't have to take the biomedical
slant, which I did. That is one discipline that at least even on the
surface has some kind of interaction with helping people. To me iffs
important that I believe in the kind of work that I do. If I didn't I
wouldn't be doing it. It seems to be a nice mixture of my scientific
slant and wanting to contribute back into humankind.
32 ^ Patrick M. Kelly, S.J.
Michael pointed out that other aspects of the work he does at
the university are important to him from a faith perspective as well.
He mentioned in this regard his relationships with other researchers
and staff members and the opportunity to work with students and
help them grow and develop as researchers and as persons.
Therms a fair amount of my interaction with students and so forth
that makes sense with the whole prayer experience and what flows
out of that. Ifs more than just the particulars of designing or testing
a new imaging technique that might better show the vascular pattern
of x-y-and-z. Ifs the whole process that may benefit somebody fifteen
years from now if this ever reaches the clinical world — maybe. But it
fosters a whole lot of other things in the process, with the students,
with interactions, with relationships, with teaching, with people
coming, you know, growing in their student life. The whole picture.
So, I would certainly say they 're related.
I would like to make some concluding comments now about the
value of the Nineteenth Annotation Retreat for lay people in our
time. In order to broach this topic, I will first need to return to
some of the themes from the introduction to this piece. I mentioned
there how the retreatants emphasized that they came away from the
retreat with much more of a felt sense of God's love for the world
and for them. The profound experience of being loved by God
brought about a new level of interior freedom, which allowed the
retreatants to respond in generosity to Christ's call.
Each person experienced this call uniquely, in accordance with
his or her life history, personality, gifts and talents, and the needs of
his or her family, community, place of work, and the broader world.
The uniqueness of each person's call meant that collectively the
retreatants had an influence that reached into many different areas
of society or the world. Even in the four stories we considered, one
can see that their different callings led them to have an influence in
very diverse settings. The influence expanded even further if one
considers all twenty of the retreatants I interviewed, who were
involved in such diverse work as real-estate development, health
care, businesses of various kinds, university administration, parish
Loved into Freedom and Service -b 33
ministry, social work, teaching special education, spiritual direction,
and university campus ministry. 14
Many of the retreatants spoke of feeling called to be more
active in serving the poor, the suffering, the oppressed, or the
marginalized. Three of the retreatants whose stories we considered
mentioned feeling called in this way. Susan felt empowered to
participate in a healing ministry with children with special needs;
James was motivated to work actively for justice in Eastern Euro-
pean societies and to stimulate his students to think about issues of
wealth and poverty; Michael spoke about comforting people who
had suffered loss and comforting a student who was going through
difficult experiences. 15 Commitment to the poor and marginalized
was a common theme among the retreatants.
The retreatants expressed virtual unanimity with regard to
how the experience of making the retreat affected their decision
making. Although they typically did not refer to the text of the Rules
for Discernment, the way retreatants described the affective experi-
ences associated with good decisions was very similar to the way
Ignatius describes the experience of the presence of the good spirit
in the life of a person who is going from "good to better." It is
encouraging and strengthening; there is a sense of obstacles being
Sometimes lay people who make the Nineteenth Annotation Retreat are
working in Jesuit institutions, but often they are not. Only one of the twenty people I
interviewed was working full time in a Jesuit institution at the time of the interviews.
None of the four retreatants whose stories we here recounted did so. This
phenomenon — which can be seen across the U.S. Assistancy — offers us an
opportunity to consider in a more radical way than we have to date what it means
for us to serve the laity in their mission, as some of our recent documents have
phrased our charge today. The mission of lay persons is not circumscribed by the
works of the Society. We need eyes to see outside our own group to the larger
Church and churches, within which lay people are being called to mission, and to
the needs of the world to which they have the gifts and talents to respond. If we can
be aware of these realities, then we have the opportunity to participate in the
marvelous new initiatives of the Spirit in our time by sharing what is central to our
own tradition — the Spiritual Exercises — with gifted and generous lay persons who
will be able to "help more souls" than we ever could on our own.
Maureen's work was also directed toward the suffering and marginalized.
The company she and her husband owned served injured workers, trying to get
them into a position where they could reenter the labor force. Because we were
focusing on other themes in Maureen's section, I did not emphasize this dimension
of her work.
34 <0> Patrick M. Kelly, S.J.
removed; it is a gentle and easy dynamic, like water falling on a
sponge; and there is the feeling that one is coming into one's own
house through an open door. Susan attended to such dynamics to
learn how she was being called in specific ways in her day-to-day
life at work and in the community. Maureen and Michael described
such experiences as the basis upon which they made significant
decisions regarding the kind of work or ministry they were being
called to do. And James did so with regard to his decision about
where to do graduate studies and how to approach his teaching,
research, and writing.
Those last two images — water falling on a sponge and coming
into one's own house through an open door — are found in the Rules
for Discernment for the Second Week, which were appropriate for
all of the retreatants' situations. They had all experienced the for-
giveness and healing associated with the First Week in the course of
the retreat (and many had important First Week experiences long
before making the retreat). Although they recognized they would
continue to struggle with sin, they now focused primarily on coming
to know Christ more intimately and loving him more intensely, so
they could follow him more closely. For Ignatius, such persons will
experience the good spirit as going in the same direction they are —
as gentle and easy, as a kind of "coming home" to themselves, God,
It is important to acknowledge that these retreatants were
being called to follow Christ in the manner described above. Minis-
try involves meeting persons "where they are at" and making the
necessary adaptations in order to do so. Since lay people today are
living in the mode of following Christ in this way, we should be
providing them with "aids" which can help them to grow in their
love of Christ and to follow him ever more closely. The full four
Weeks of Ignatius's Exercises are uniquely suited for this purpose.
And the Rules for Discernment are indispensable to the experience
of the retreat as Ignatius understood it. 16
16 Recently, scholars are recognizing the centrality of the Rules for
Discernment for understanding the dynamics of the Spiritual Exercises. John W.
CMalley, for example, writes that the Rules, "come as close as anything does to
revealing the most basic assumptions Ignatius entertained about the dynamics of an
individual's relationship to God." For this reason, he understands the Rules to be "at the
very core of the Spiritual Exercises," and "a critical introduction to the meaning of the
whole book'' (The First Jesuits [Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1993], 41).
Loved into Freedom and Service ^ 35
The insights of Ignatius in this very practical realm of vocation
and discernment offer one of the most compelling arguments for the
need for the Nineteenth Annotation Retreat for lay people in our
own time. After the first century of the Society's history, as we have
seen, this particular retreat dropped out of usage and we were left
with the thirty-day retreat — usually for potential religious or reli-
gious and priests — and the exercises of the First Week, which came
to be understood as being primarily for lay people. But this in fact
was not faithful to some of Ignatius's earlier inclinations or the
practices of the early Jesuits. In the new situation of the Church
today, with the recognition of a universal call to holiness, and the
vocation of all the baptized to the apostolate, lay persons need a
way to discover their own vocations and to discern how God is
calling them on a day-to-day basis. This can happen during the
Second, Third, and Fourth Weeks of the Exercises, when the retreat
experience is accompanied by an introduction to the Rules for
Discernment. This is one of the reasons the Spiritual Exercises, and
the Nineteenth Annotation version of this retreat in particular, is so
important during this "Age of the Laity."
Past Issues: Studies in the Spirituality of Jesuits
(For prices, see inside back cover.)
1/1 Sheets, Profile of the Contemporary Jesuit (Sept. 1969)
1/2 Ganss, Authentic Spiritual Exercises: History and Terminology (Nov. 1969)
2/1 Burk?, Institution and Person (Feb. 1970)
2/2 Futrell, Ignatian Discernment (Apr. 1970)
2/3 Lonergan, Response of the Jesuit as Priest and Apostle (Sept. 1970)
3/1 Wright, Grace of Our Founder and the Grace of Our Vocation (Feb. 1971)
3/2 O'Flaherty, Some Reflections on Jesuit Commitment (Apr. 1971)
3/4 Toner, A Method for Communal Discernment of Gods Will (Sept. 1971)
3/5 Sheets, Toward a Theology of the Religious Life (Nov. 1971)
4/2 Two Discussions: I. Spiritual Direction, II. Leadership and Authority (Mar. 1972)
4/3 Orsy, Some Questions about the Purpose and Scope of the General Congregation (June 1972)
4/4 Ganss, Wright, O'Malley, O'Donovan, Dulles, On Continuity and Change: A Symposium
5/1-2 O'Flaherty, Renewal: Call and Response (Jan.-Mar. 1973)
5/3 Arrupe, McNaspy, The Place of Art in Jesuit Life (Apr. 1973)
5/4 Haughey, The Pentecostal Thing and Jesuits (June 1973)
5/5 Orsy, Toward a Theological Evaluation of Communal Discernment (Oct. 1973)
6/3 Knight, Joy and Judgment in Religious Obedience (Apr. 1974)
7/1 Wright, Ganss, Orsy, On Thinking with the Church Today (Jan. 1975)
7/2 Ganss, Christian Life Communities from the Sodalities (Mar. 1975)
7/3 Connolly, Contemporary Spiritual Direction: Scope and Principles (June 1975)
7/5 Buckley, The Confirmation of a Promise; Padberg, Continuity and Change in General
Congregation XXXII (Nov. 1975)
8/1 O'Neill, Acatamiento: Ignatian Reverence (Jan. 1976)
8/2-3 De la Costa, Sheridan, and others, On Becoming Poor: A Symposium on Evangelical Poverty
8/4 Faricy, Jesuit Community: Community of Prayer (Oct. 1976)
9/1-2 Becker, Changes in U.S. Jesuit Membership, 1958-75; Others, Reactions and Explanations
9/4 Connolly, Land, Jesuit Spiritualities and the Struggle for Social Justice (Sept. 1977).
9/5 Gill, A Jesuits Account of Conscience (Nov. 1977)
10/1 Kammer, "Burn-Out"— Dilemma for the Jesuit Social Activist (Jan. 1978)
10/4 Harvanek, Status of Obedience in the Society of Jesus; Others, Reactions to Connolly-Land
11/1 Clancy, Feeling Bad about Feeling Good (Jan. 1979)
11/2 Maruca, Our Personal Witness as Power to Evangelize Culture (Mar. 1979)
11/3 Klein, American Jesuits and the Liturgy (May 1979)
11/5 Conwell, The Kamikaze Factor: Choosing Jesuit Ministries (Nov. 1979)
12/2 Henriot, Appleyard, Klein, Living Together in Mission: A Symposium on Small Apostolic
Communities (Mar. 1980)
12/3 Conwell, Living and Dying in the Society of Jesus (May 1980)
13/1 Peter, Alcoholism in Jesuit Life (Jan. 1981)
13/3 Ganss, Towards Understanding the Jesuit Brothers' Vocation (May 1981)
13/4 Reites, St. Ignatius of Loyola and the Jews (Sept. 1981)
14/1 O'Malley, The Jesuits, St Ignatius, and the Counter Reformation (Jan. 1982)
14/2 Dulles, St Ignatius and Jesuit Theological Tradition (Mar. 1982)
14/4 Gray, An Experience in Ignatian Government (Sept. 1982)
14/5 Ivern, The Future ofFaitb and Justice: Review of Decree Four (Nov. 1982)
15/1 O'Malley, The Fourth Vow in Its Ignatian Context (fan. 1983)
15/2 Sullivan and Faricy, On Making the Spiritual Exercises for Renewal of Jesuit Charisms (Mar.
15/3-4 Padberg, The Society True to Itself: A Brief History of the 32nd General Congregation of the
Society of Jesus (May-Sept. 1983)
15/5-16/1 Tetlow, Jesuits' Mission in Higher Education (Nov. 1983-Jan. 1984)
16/2 O'Malley, To Travel to Any Part of the World: Jeronimo Nodal and the Jesuit Vocation (Mar.
16/3 O'Hanlon, Integration of Christian Practices: A Western Christian Looks East (May 1984)
16/4 Carlson, "A Faith Lived Out of Doors": Ongoing Formation (Sept. 1984)
17/1 Spohn, St Paul on Apostolic Celibacy and the Body of Christ (fan. 1985)
17/2 Daley, "In Ten Thousand Places": Christian Universality and the Jesuit Mission (Mar. 1985)
17/3 Tetlow, Dialogue on the Sexual Maturing of Celibates (May 1985)
17/4 Spohn, Coleman, Clarke, Henriot, Jesuits and Peacemaking (Sept. 1985)
17/5 Kinerk, When Jesuits Pray: A Perspective on the Prayer of Apostolic Persons (Nov. 1985)
18/1 Gelpi, The Converting Jesuit (Jan. 1986).
18/2 Beirne, Compass and Catalyst: The Ministry of Administration. (Mar. 1986)
18/3 McCormick, Bishops as Teachers and Jesuits as Listeners (May 1986)
18/5 Tetlow, The Transformation of Jesuit Poverty (Nov. 1986).
19/1 Staudenmaier, United States Technology and Adult Commitment (fan. 1987)
19/2 Appleyard, Languages We Use: Talking about Religious Experience (Mar. 1987)
19/5 Endean, Who Do You Say Ignatius Is? Jesuit Fundamentalism and Beyond (Nov. 1987)
20/1 Brackley, Downward Mobility: Social Implications of St Ignatius's Two Standards (Jan. 1988)
20/2 Padberg, How We Live Where We Live (Mar. 1988)
20/3 Hayes, Padberg, Staudenmaier, Symbols, Devotions, and Jesuits (May 1988)
20/4 McGovern, Jesuit Education and Jesuit Spirituality (Sept. 1988)
20/5 Barry, Jesuit Formation Today: An Invitation to Dialogue and Involvement (Nov. 1988)
21/1 Wilson, Where Do We Belong? United States Jesuits and Their Memberships (fan. 1989)
21/2 Demoustier, Calvez, et al., The Disturbing Subject: The Option for the Poor (Mar. 1989)
21/3 Soukup, Jesuit Response to the Communication Revolution (May 1989)
22/1 Carroll, The Spiritual Exercises in Everyday Life (fan. 1990)
22/2 Bracken, Jesuit Spirituality from a Process Prospective (March 1990)
22/3 Shepherd, Fire for a Weekend: An Experience of the Exercises (May 1990)
22/4 O'Sullivan, Trust Your Feeling, but Use Your Head (Sept. 1990)
22/5 Coleman, A Company of Critics: Jesuits and the Intellectual Life (Nov. 1990)
23/1 Houdek, The Road Too Often Traveled 0an. 1991)
23/3 Begheyn and Bogart, A Bibliography on St Ignatius's Spiritual Exercises (May 1991)
23/4 Shelton, Reflections on the Mental Health of Jesuits (Sept. 1991)
23/5 Toolan, "Nature Is a Heraclitean Fire" (Nov. 1991)
24/1 Houdek, Jesuit Prayer and Jesuit Ministry: Context and Possibilities (Jan. 1992)
24/2 Smolich, Testing the Water: Jesuits Accompanying the Poor (March 1992)
24/3 Hassel, Jesus Christ Changing Yesterday, Today, and Forever (May 1992)
24/4 Shelton, Toward Healthy Jesuit Community Living (Sept. 1992)
24/5 Cook, Jesus' Parables and the Faith That Does Justice (Nov. 1992)
25/3 Padberg, Ignatius, the Popes, and Realistic Reverence (May 1993)
25/4 Stahel, Toward General Congregation 34 (Sept. 1993)
25/5 Baldovin, Christian Liturgy: An Annotated Bibliography (Nov. 1993)
26/2 Murphy, The Many Ways of Justice (March 1994)
26/3 Staudenmaier, To Fall in Love with the World (May 1994)
26/5 Landy, Myths That Shape Us (Nov. 1994)
27/1 Daley, "To Be More like Christ" (Jan. 1995)
27/2 Schmidt, Portraits and Landscapes (March 1995)
27/3 Stockhausen, I'd Love to, but I Don't Have the Time (May 1995)
27/4 Anderson, Jesuits in Jail, Ignatius to the Present (Sept. 1995)
27/5 Shelton, Friendship in Jesuit Life (Nov. 1995)
28/1 Begheyn, Bibliography on the History of the Jesuits (Jan. 1996)
28/3 Clooney, In Ten Thousand Places, in Every Blade of Grass (May 1996)
28/4 Starkloff, "As Different As Night and Day" (Sept. 1996)
28/5 Beckett, Listening to Our History (Nov. 1996)
29/1 Hamm, Preaching Biblical Justice (Jan. 1997)
29/2 Padberg, The Three Forgotten Founders (March 1997)
29/3 Byrne, Jesuits and Parish Ministry (May 1997)
29/4 Keenan, Are Informations Ethical? (Sept. 1997)
29/5 Ferlita, The Road to Bethlehem-Is It Level or Winding? (Nov. 1997)
30/1 Shore, The Vita Christi ofLudolph of Saxony and Its Influence on the Spiritual Exercises of
Ignatius of Loyola (Jan. 1998)
30/2 Starkloff, "I'm No Theologian, but . . . (or So . . . )f" (March 1998)
30/3 Torrens, The Word That Clamors (May 1998)
30/4 Petrik, "Being Sent" (Sept. 1998)
30/5 Jackson, "One and the Same Vocation" (Nov. 1998)
31/1 Clifford, Scripture and the Exercises (Jan. 1999)
31/2 Toohig, Physics Research, a Search for God (March 1999)
31/3 Fagin, Fidelity in the Church— Then and Now (May 1999)
31/4 Schineller, Pilgrim Journey of Ignatius (Sept. 1999)
31/5 Fullam, Juana, S.J.: Status of Women in the Society (Nov. 1999)
32/1 Langan, The Good of Obedience in a Culture of Autonomy (Jan. 2000)
32/2 Blake, Listen with Your Eyes (March 2000)
32/3 Shelton, When a Jesuit Counsels Others (May 2000)
32/4 Barry, Past, Present, and Future (Sept. 2000)
32/5 Starkloff, Pilgrimage Re-envisioned (Nov. 2000)
33/1 Kolvenbach et al., Faith, Justice, and American Jesuit Higher Education (Jan. 2001)
33/2 Keenan, Unexpected Consequences: Persons's Christian Directory (March 2001)
33/3 Arrupe, Trinitarian Inspiration of the Ignatian Charism (May 2001)
33/4 Veale, Saint Ignatius Asks, "Are You Sure You Know Who I Am?" (Sept. 2001)
33/5 Barry and Keenan, How Multicultural Are We? (Nov. 2001)
34/1 Blake, "City of the Living God" (Jan. 2002)
34/2 Clooney, A Charism for Dialog (March 2002)
34/3 Rehg, Christian Mindfulness (May 2002)
34/4 Brackley, Expanding the Shrunken Soul (Sept. 2002)
34/5 Bireley, The Jesuits and Politics in Time of War (Nov. 2002)
35/1 Barry, Jesuit Spirituality for the Whole of Life (Jan. 2003)
35/2 Madden/Janssens, The Training of Ours in the Sacred Liturgy (March 2003)
35/4 Modras, A Jesuit in the Crucihle (Sept. 2003)
35/5 Lucas, Virtual Vessels, Mystical Signs (Nov. 2003)
36/1 Rausch, Christian Life Communities for Jesuit University Students? (Spring 2004)
36/2 Bernauer, The Holocaust and the Search for Forgiveness (Summer 2004)
36/3 Nantais, "Whatever!" Is Not Ignatian Indifference (Fall 2004)
36/4 Lukacs, The Incarnational Dynamic of the Constitutions (Winter 2004)
37/1 Smolarski, Jesuits on the Moon (Spring 2005)
37/2 McDonough, Clenched Fist or Open Hands? (Summer 2005)
37/3 Torrens, Tuskegee Years (Fall 2005)
37/4 O'Brien, Consolation in Action (Winter 2005)
38/1 Schineller, In Their Own Words (Spring 2006)
38/2 Jackson, "Something that happened to me at Manresa" (Summer 2006)
38/3 Reiser, Locating the Grace of the Fourth Week (Fall 2006)
38/4 O'Malley, Five Missions of the Jesuit Charism (Winter 2006)
39/1 McKevitt, Italian Jesuits in Maryland (Spring 2007)
39/2 Kelly, Loved into Freedom and Service (Summer 2007)
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